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July 25, 2006

Messin' with Texas
by SG

After a disappointing series in Toronto, the Yankees rebounded nicely to top Texas 6-2 last night. Randy Johnson pitched pretty well, although his command wasn't great and he struggled to get through six innings. After the game Johnson admitted some residual effects from his 130 pitch outing last time, although it didn't seem to affect his fastball, which reached 96 mph. I don't think the occasional high pitch outing is a big deal for veteran pitchers, but I'd hope the Yankees try to be a bit more judicious regarding Johnson's workload over the next few starts just in case.

Johnson continued a good trend of late by getting strikeouts. When Johnson has been effective as a Yankee, he's had a lot of trouble putting hitters away when he gets to two strikes.

Over his first 14 games, Johnson had pitched 80 innings, allowed 82 hits, 15 HR, 31 BB, and gotten 63 K, with an ERA of 5.62. His K per 9 was 7.2, his BB per 9 was 3.5, and his HR per 9 was 1.69. His K/BB ratio was a pedestrian 2.03. Over his last 8 games, he's pitched 55 innings, allowed 46 hits, 5 hR, 8 BB, and gotten 58 K, with an ERA of 3.60. Over this most recent stretch, his K per 9 is 9.5, his BB per 9 is 1.3, his HR/9 is .82, and his K/BB ratio is a very good 7.25. There's no reason to think the Johnson of the first 14 starts is gone, but let's hope he doesn't show up very much over the remainder of the season.

For all the grief Miguel Cairo gets from some circles, you'd think he was the most horrendous player ever. Despite that, his 2 run double in yesterday's game was key, as was a tremendous pick at second base of a bad throw from Johnson on a grounder up the middle that led to catching Gary Matthews Jr. in a rundown.

Derek Jeter also had a good game with 2 extra base hits, although he looked like he may have gotten banged up and was subbed for Nick Green late in the game. I noticed Jeter's G/F ratio the other day was an extremely high 3.84 this season. This very likely explains his high average and lower than expected power. I have no idea if this is a conscious change in his approach or a lingering effect of the various bumps and bruises he's suffered this year, but I can't complain about the results. If only he'd stop bunting...

Despite it being a 6-2 game, Joe Torre went with his 7th/8th/9th inning guys. I should be annoyed about that I suppose, but after the Wayne Franklin horror show last time in Texas I'm not. Let's hope it doesn't come back to hurt them over the next two games.

Melky Cabrera's 3 hits boosted his SLG to .395. .400 is so close I can feel it. I'd be estatic if he can maintain an OPS in the .770-.800 range this season as a 21 year old, especially if his recent better defensive play is legit. He picked up another OF assist too.

The injury situation was supposed to be getting better by now, but instead it is getting worse. In addition to Jeter who appears to be fine to play tonight, Johnny Damon "tweaked" his back getting out of a car and may miss a few games. Hideki Matsui has begun his workouts in Tampa, according to the NY Post's George King.
Three weeks ago, Hideki Matsui said he wanted to return from a fractured wrist by Aug. 15. Yesterday, he wasn't sure if he could meet that goal.

Matsui took 75 swings with a 24-inch bat and hit off the tee with his right hand. He took 25 dry swings with both hands. Matsui ran and played catch.

Robinson Cano's still at least two weeks away. Octavio Dotel was again cleared to throw, this time off flat ground, so he may rejoin the team sometime. I'll wait with bated breath.

The DFA poll worked even better than the DFA watch, as runaway leader Kris Wilson was DFA'd before we had a chance to put him on watch. sorry Kris.

Tonight, Moose (11-3, 3.39) vs.Adam Eaton, who's making his first start of the season. He's pitched 12.1 innings in the minors in 4 rehab starts, allowing 10 hits, 2 R, 3 B, and 13 K.

Eaton's scouting report from Stats Inc
For all the tinkering that he and his coaches did with his mechanics-from lowering his arm angle to dropping a pitch altogether-what "fixed" Eaton was simply making smarter pitches. With a moving fastball ranging from 92-97 MPH, a very big-breaking slow curve, a good change and slider, it didn't make sense that he was getting hit as hard as he was. Making mistakes with his fastball, especially when ahead in the count, turned out to be his undoing. Most of the time it appeared that Eaton was thinking too much about the sequence rather than concentrating on making the next quality pitch.
Hopefully the Yankees give him a nice American League welcome.